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Patriots in Name Only

The newly empowered Republican fanatics in the House of Representatives have already shown that they will not be concerning themselves with civil debate, legislating, and the rest of the ordinary business of politics. The only important question is whether they will disseminate lies potent enough to provoke political violence.

NEW YORK – In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” But a recurring question of politics, especially relevant to America’s fraught union at the start of 2023, is who belongs in which category.

In the new Congress elected last November, radical right-wing Republicans have reaped significant gains by threatening Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become Speaker of the US House of Representatives. In exchange for their votes, members of the Freedom Caucus, a fervently pro-Donald Trump minority, have landed appointments to the most powerful House committees, where they will control the agenda for the next two years.

Americans already can anticipate what will unfold. Democrats control the Senate and the presidency, but the newly empowered Republican firebrands will not be looking to compromise. With no chance of Republican-sponsored legislation becoming law, the radicalized House’s only business will be to engage in pure partisan spectacle.

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